The Stories in Your Bones

Paper from the towers

(author’s note: This year, the first class of freshmen who were not alive on September 11th, 2001 will begin high school.)

Remember the morning
paper rained
from our choked September sky
that moment we understood
what was drifting down around us
like the strange slow tears
of a concrete jungle
that never saw it coming

Remember that silence
the ash-covered speechlessness
that followed the screaming
and the wandering
toward familiar spaces
bars and faces
in search of news and comfort
while we waited for the world to end

Remember the walls
of hurried home-printer desperation
a sea of smiling faces
unbearable joy betrayed
by the obituary sadness
of the words “last seen”
never have so many prayers
been uttered by atheists

Telling us to ‘never forget’
is like telling us to breathe
each fragmented moment
wedged into our bones
we used them to rebuild ourselves
when the world we understood
disappeared in smoke and paper
and that smell there are no words for

But remembering is so much more
than a call to weighted silence
remembering won’t save us
if it lives behind our tongues
as generations grow
that will learn that day as history
from borrowed books and broadcasts
without memories in their bones

I know that you remember
I see it in the way your eyes shift focus
when you smell September
how you still look up so suddenly
at the sound of passing planes
collective knowing can’t be shared
in multiple choice questions
it cannot be carried in a backpack

Knowing is the sirens
on the roof of the Millennium
when the buildings were still shifting
and we ran to not be buried
knowing is the letters
from the kids who couldn’t sleep
to the workers who refused to
making even stubborn heroes weep

But I’m not the only one
rebuilt from shrapnel of my memories
not the only one with eyes
so often on the sky
speak what you remember
for those with nothing to forget
because the freshmen need the stories
that we carry in our bones


More on September 11th by American Raksha:

Laughing Through September 11th – A Postcard From The Pile (2011)

We Have A Lot Of Work To Do (2014)


About American Raksha

Writer, digital media strategist, Chaos Ninja and advocate of strategic nonviolent action.
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